Progress in Forest Park
Brought to you by Portland United Mountain Pedalers (PUMP)
Hello, PUMPsters and other members of our mtb community! What an amazing month for Forest Park Singletrack advocacy. Though this report may seem short, it feels like we’ve advanced to amazing degrees. Fellow Fat Tire lovers, I am happy to report that we are moving in the right direction with unprecedented commitment and communication from all parties involved.
Forest Park Ad-Hoc Committee:
The Forest Park Ad-Hoc Committee was formed at the direction (and is led by) the Forest Park Conservancy (formerly known as The Friends of Forest Park). This committee is comprised of user groups of FP with committee members from City Parks, the biking industry, The Audubon Society, BTA, a Biking Advocate, PUMP, and is headed by John Runyon and Stephen Hatfield of FPC. The purpose of the committee is to specifically address mountain biking in FP, build relationships with user groups, overcome misconceptions of mountain biking via communication and education, reduce user conflicts, and bring sustainable mountain biking (singletrack) options to FP. This includes our (mountain biker) education on the issues, concerns, and permitting processes germain to our goal. It is wonderful to see and be a part of the open and constructive communication happening here. Every member of this board is concerned with and curious about the other user groups. No one is saying, “No.” All parties acknowledge there is a place for real singletrack mountain biking in FP. If we don't address it now and plan for the future, current conflicts in the park will only continue to mushroom at the expense of the park. We have to plan for its healthy future now. What we are doing is finding a way to do that in a sustainable way that will reduce user conflicts and be best for the park.
This committee is formulating a White Paper with a completion date of January 1, 2008. This paper will go to the FPC for review and will then be presented to the City Of Portland as a recommendation for the park.
The park’s resources are already strained. They are having a hard time keeping up the maintenance on the trails currently exisiting in the park. One question asked was, “If we add more trail, how will we maintain it?” This is an incredibly valid concern. Tom Archer and I brought ap what COTA has done in Bend, DOD in Oakridge, and BRMBA in Falls City as examples of Mountain Bike Clubs being excellent stewards of (singletrack) trail. Those examples were well received, but the question was what do we (PUMP) feel we could realistically commit to. This is where our adoption of FL5 and trail maintenance parties are critical to our success. It is also critical that Non-PUMP Mountain Bikers jump in and join to make our numbers count. Organized numbers count. (See FL5 Trail Party Report later in this FP Update).
Unknown to us (this is where our education comes in), Forest Park has a soil content that is unique to The Park and is very vulnerable to erosion. This is something that we can overcome and are working on it. IMBA and environmental surveys from other sources will provide us with some support data we are looking for. We may need to come up with some funds to do a specific FP study, but the funds are there when we get to that point. Luckily Tom Archer is our environmental and permitting expert and is an amazing board resource on the matter. (Kudos, Tom!)
Ah, yes. Permitting. This is a frustration point for all of us. Currently the wheel must be recreated for every single trail built. We are working on solutions to streamline the process. Nothing is being left off the table.
Tom and I are pulling together information on what other cities (such as NYC, Philadelphia, Santa Fe, New Jersey, Seattle, etc) are doing in regard to mountain biking. Everyone on the committee was amazed to hear there is singletrack in NJ and Manhattan. We are a hip, outdoor loving city -- We can’t be outdone!
We are also compiling photographs, video, etc., to show the other user group committee members what a true singletrack trail is and how non-invasive our sport is. We have many negative perception points to overcome. One big sticky-point is the perception current rouge riders in the park are giving to other users of the park. It is not helping when people already think that we are disorganized, disrespectful, and just really don't care and then have that perception reinforced when they see off designated trail riders. Don't shoot the messenger. We are pretty much a mystery to a lot of people. When people see the few breaking the rules, they percieve that we all do "those things." Think before you do ... We are all ambassadors of our sport. What are you willing to give up today for a greater future?
Speak - Build - Respect - Ride. It's up to us, folks.
We will be meeting again in a couple of weeks, so look for another update in the next newsletter.
Firelane 5 Trail Party:
This ball is on a roll! At the behest of Stephen Hatfield, Director of the FPC, we are in the process of formally adopting Firelane 5. I am navigating they process with Fred Nilsen of the Parks Dept. As referenced in Point 1 of the Ad-Hoc Committee report, this is key to demonstrating our commitment to maintaining any singletrack we build.
Our first trail party for our newly adopted was last Saturday, November 3rd. We had over 40 participants - Wow! I cannot emphasize enough how far that kind of turnout goes in getting us to our goal.
The FPC gave us Jeff Hough, FPC Trails Coordinator, as a resource and the Parks Department dedicated Greg Holly. Both brought all of the equipment and supplies to complete the mission. They were amazing! Shout-out to Grand Central Bakery for providing us with breakfast pastries. Please stop in and thank them.
Though the main participants were from PUMP, we were delighted to have Mtbr and OBRA particpants join the crew. Needless to say, everyone was blown away by the response and had a really great time. It was a fantastic opportunity for different groups to come together, work on trail, and get to know one another. A special thumbs-up to the Mtbr and OBRA folks: This event was only posted to Mtbr with two days notice and (thanks to Brian Baumann) was then posted to OBRA the night before. These dedicated Mountain Bikers rose to the challenge and really put their time and energy where their mouths (and keyboards) are by showing up and being such amazing partners on such short notice. We look forward to having more people come out and join us with more notice going forward. Thank you!
We repaired trail, cut tons of overgrowth, added a culvert to the bottom of FL5 to eliminate erosion, and build an S-Curve near the bottom of the trail to slow bikers down and make it a little more interesting.
Jordan and I have posted some of the pictures to the PUMP Flickr page http://www.flickr.com/groups/pump/pool/. I will be blogging the event (with pictures) to my MySpace page at www.myspace.com/mtb_grrrl in the next couple days.
Apparently FL1 is in need of some TLC. Jeff Hough and I are hammering out a December date for that Trail Party this week. I will send it out on the PUMP listserve and post it to the club's forum section when the date is solidified. I will also post to Mtbr and OBRA. If Mtbr & OBRA folks want to make their voices (and numbers) heard and stay up to date on what PUMP is doing in regard to advocacy and more trail parties, please join PUMP and check our calendar and forum pages.
Thank you everyone who came to the party! The list of particpants is below. If I missed anyone, I'm sorry. I am going off the yellow pad PUMP roster provided at sign in.
I would appreciate it greatly if those of you who were on the party or have things you would like to see in Forest Park would send me an e-mail with your suggestions. Yes, your input counts! Additionally, if you show up for work parties, your opinion will carry significantly greater weight with me. (hint!)
Thank You To:
Mark Pickett (Revolver Bikes)
John (JR) Joy
Brandon Hadley (Fat Tire Farm)
Jeff Hough (Friends of Forest Park Trails Coordinator)
Greg Holly (City of Portland Parks Department)
Grand Central Bakery
PUMP Forest Park Co-Liaison
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